A few weeks ago I read about The Dinosaur Place on another blog. I really wish I remembered which one so I could thank the blogger. Seeing it was in Connecticut I reached out to my cousin that lives in the state and we planned a fun weekend adventure.
We were all very excited when we tumbled out the car to take photos with the giant, sunglasses clad dinosaur out front. I was much less excited when we walked up to the register and they wouldn’t honor the AAA discount that I found on the AAA site. The young guy behind the counter seemed confused by it and asked another woman for assistance on how to use the coupon. The woman first told me that it wasn’t for their place. She said it must be for one of the other dinosaur amusements. I confirmed the address listed as where we were standing and she changed her tune to say that it was AAA’s mistake. That they put up a coupon without getting permission. I was really disappointed. And not just because I wanted to save $5 a person (which I did) but because the lady’s tone was very dismissive and they were acting like AAA was some never heard of thing. I feel the proper customer service thing to do would have been to honor the discount and let us know it was a courtesy.
Oh, and you enter and leave through the gift shop. Yay, said no parent ever! After paying admission we corralled our children out of the gift shop and into the park. The kids were excited to see the Jurassic Moon Bounce. Think of a bouncy house with slide you might rent for a birthday party. They had a lot of fun in it. JustaBXgirl got some skin burn from the velcro on the door but overall they enjoyed themselves. We stayed playing there until it got crowded. It was good for about five to ten kids playing at once inside. Once more came it just seemed like too much to be safe and fun.
We actually had bypassed the Jurassic Moon Bounce on our way in to head over to Monty’s playground and came back to it after our Second visit to T-Rex Tower. T-Rex Tower was my favorite kid play area. It is enclosed and offers the children the chance to zipline, slide and climb without worrying about getting hurt. I think it might have been JustaBXgirl’s favorite part as well.
Back to customer service though…it might have been because we were there on the first day of peak season and they were still getting it together but the T-Rex Tower and the Jurassic Moon Bounce both closed for a half hour. At first I thought it was so they could clean the equipment but nope. It was so the staff member monitoring the areas could take lunch. Now I’m all for employees’ rights and fair breaks but you mean to tell me they didn’t have enough staff to have someone step in on break? I can tell you JustaBXgirl was not a happy camper when I told her the T-Rex Tower was closing.
Food was great. Staying in theme they had dinosaur chicken nuggets on the menu (which just so happen to be JustaBXgirl’s favorite type of chicken nugget). After lunch we hit the splash pad which was a lot of fun. JustaBXgirl and JustaCTtoddler stayed more towards the water table and gentle water areas. JustaCTgirl and JustaCTboy were much more brave with the side of the splash pad they ventured towards.
After getting some ice cream, which was really, really good, we went dinosaur hunting. The kids really enjoyed searching for dinosaurs and checking out the “What am I” boxes along the trails. I know I personally learned a lot while reading up on some of the ones we found.
At the top of one of the trails we found the A”MAZE”ASAURUS. My cousin and I took a seat while the kids and her husband found their way through. They must have gone through the maze a good twenty times before it was time to head out.
Seemed like we were going to leave The Dinosaur Place nearly forgetting about the bothersome service until we realized that they closed the main bathrooms before the park. This was just a little annoying since near the gift shop were more bathrooms. The gift shop though was much more annoying. We got to it (remember it is the way out) maybe ten minutes before closing time. As the kids are picking out their souvenirs and other families are doing the same the staff turned the lights off on us! I made a comment about how unprofessional it was and one light went back on. If JustaBXgirl was a bit older we would have left without purchasing anything. I couldn’t do that to her though and she selected her toy. She runs ahead to the counter and before asking if there would be anything else she is rung up and I’m being told the total. I was also told that they would prefer me to pay by card. Of course after hearing their preference, I said that’s nice but I will be paying in cash.
I can say that we had a really nice day. The grounds are lovely. There is a lot of educational content and a lot of fun to be had. Will we be returning? The verdict is still out but leaning toward nope. I value customer service greatly. If I don’t feel respected a place I can’t return. Next time we will be checking out The Dinosaur State Park.
Have you gone? What was your experience?